Target Price Matching: The Race to Zero? Not Really!

cash register, not full
cash register, not full

Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) is taking its price matching a step further. Rather than just price matching during the holidays, Target will honor this year round. Target identified its list of competitors it will price match: Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT), Best Buy Co. (NYSE: BBY) and Toys"R"Us. The price match includes these stores' online websites, and it also includes its own Web special offers, as the price match will count in stores against the offerings as well. While this may sound like a race to zero, there are many exclusions in these price match policies.

What is interesting is that this does not just count at the register at the point of sale. The company said:

If a guest buys a qualifying item at a Target store and then finds the identical item for less in the following week's Target circular or within seven days on,,, or or in a local competitor's printed ad, Target will match the price …. With our new Price Match Policy and the additional five percent savings guests receive when they use their REDcard, Target provides an unbeatable value.

Target is at least not cutting off its nose here. The "exclusions" specifically state that prices from third-party sellers on these websites will not be honored. In short, some blow-out price from a third party on Amazon will not count. The list of exclusions is rather long and here are some of them exclusions:

  • Prices that only display on a website after guests log in.

  • Clearance, closeout, damaged product, refurbished, open packages or liquidation sales.

  • Prices advertised only as a percentage off or dollar off.

  • Paid membership club or paid loyalty programs (e.g. prices that require a club or loyalty card that is associated with a membership fee).

  • Buy one, get one, if the retail price is not shown in the advertisement.

  • Competitor coupon-required.

  • Competitor price matches on items where Target or the competitor is offering a free gift card.

  • Mail-in offers or instant rebates.

  • Offers that include financing.

There are also many ad exclusions. Items advertised as limited time/limited supply/limited quantity are excluded from the price match. Printed or pricing errors of competitors will not be honored, ditto for Black Friday ads. Alaska and Hawaii Target stores are excluded from online competitor price matching.

Some price match efforts are suicide. Some are gimmicks. Let's just say that this effort is not suicide for Target.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Consumer Goods, Consumer Product, Corporate Governance, Internet, Retail Tagged: AMZN, BBY, featured, TGT, WMT